Pandemic stress-related toxic communication can creep into your customer communication. Don’t let it! Set the example, nip toxicity in the bud, protect your team from incoming, build in rest, celebrate the good stuff, and codify that positive voice in your company style guide.

As we think about healthy communication at work, we’re reminded of the saga of Away. The direct-to-consumer luggage company experienced such massive growth that it couldn’t keep up with demand. As customer requests piled up despite the customer service team’s 16-hour workdays and canceled vacations, executives blamed the team for not keeping up. They reportedly became so toxic that the team virtually imploded, service quality plummeted, and the story unfolded in an unflattering media exposé.

This moment finds us with a different kind of anxiety. Pandemic-related stress is at an all-time high, and people are bringing it to work. It can show up in ugly ways, too. In a survey we conducted of 1,000 professionals, 38 percent said they experienced toxic workplace communication since shelter-in-place began. Yikes!

What about when that nastiness starts to seep into your interactions with customers? Even if underneath the surface, unhealthy customer communication can damage your satisfaction scores…and your brand.

Here are 12 steps you can take to help your customer success team stay positive and put all kinds of good vibes out into the universe.

1. Acknowledge the stress

Your customer success team are people, too. They’re dealing with the strain of a deadly pandemic, economic anxiety, and lots of “togetherness” with family members at home. Even if you can’t fix these problems, simply acknowledging the stress they’re under goes a long way for their state of mind.

2. Care for your employees

Maybe it’s quaran-tinis every other Friday. Or a well-timed “wellness day.” Or a cupcake delivery to employees’ homes. Whatever your flavor, invest in ways to remind your employees that you value and care about them. In turn, they’ll value and care for your customers.

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